Inside Game

Race, Power and Politics in the NBA

By Wayne Embry, with Mary Schmitt Boyer

Foreword by Spike Lee

Pages: 450

Size: 6 x 9

SKU: 978-1-931968-22-5 Category: Tags: ,


Wayne Embry went from being an All-Star basketball player at Miami University to an NBA Executive of the Year. In his new autobiography, The Inside Game, Embry chronicles his 40 years in The National Basketball Association (NBA) and discusses the problems threatening to undermine it. Embry, who was once sent home from a game in the old Richfield Coliseum when a bullet was found on his seat, tells the inside story of his fall from grace.

Prejudice is nothing new to Embry, a pioneer who became the first African American general manager in sports when the Milwaukee Bucks named him to that post in 1972—long after Jackie Robinson broke the color barrier in baseball. Now—31 years after his groundbreaking appointment—Embry, no longer employed by the league, is finally free to speak his mind.

He writes about the unfortunate dealings that led to his departure from the Cavs and introduces startling information about one of the most highly regarded coaches in the league. He discusses the social and economic changes affecting the league as well as other problems.

What Embry wants most is to provide inspiration not only to those in the sports world, but to those in the worlds of business and education, where he has demonstrated leadership time and time again. His book is part historical perspective, part inside look behind-the-scenes, part business strategy and part social commentary, all told in a straight-forward style sprinkled with humorous anecdotes.

I have never known a more fair-minded man than Wayne Embry. He unselfishly shared his knowledge of the game with other general managers and coaches for many years. The NBA has lost his knowledge and background as a five-time NBA All-Star, as well as successful general manager in Milwaukee and Cleveland, and sorely misses his presence. This book blends basketball and inspiration into a must read for all ages.
—Pete Newell, Hall of Famer and Legendary Coach

Wayne Embry’s The Inside Game is must reading for anyone who wants to know the history of the NBA. Embry was a witness to enormous changes during his remarkable career as a player and as a top front office executive. All along the way, he was a pioneer. Like all pioneers, he faced hard times and incredible challenges. Ultimately, Wayne Embry’s life is an inspiration to everyone who has been told that they cannot get to the top.
—Richard Lapchick, Director, Institute for Diversity and Ethics in Sport, University of Central Florida

The Inside Game brings to bear the valuable insight of a man as intellectually sturdy as he is physically strong. His insights on race will touch your heart.
—Steve Love, coauthor, The Golden Dream

Wayne Embry doesn’t just take you to the backboards of basketball, the former center takes you into the backrooms where the real deals are cut. His discussion of the Shawn Kemp deal and the inner workings of the Cleveland Cavaliers front office are eye-opening, a must for any Cavs fan. Embry is a Hall of Famer, and this book is at that high level.
—Terry Pluto, Akron Beacon Journal

The Inside Game is a riveting read. I enjoyed every word and you will too, whether you’re a basketball fan or not. Wayne is one of America’s most significant athletic figures and after you finish this book you’ll understand why.
—Pat Williams, Senior Vice President, Orlando Magic

Wayne Embry’s book, The Inside Game, is a compelling, thought-provoking journey from his childhood days, his professional basketball days, and his business experiences to the pinnacle of his chosen profession as a franchise executive. Wayne does a tremendous job of presenting the facts and allowing the reader to draw his or her own conclusions. This book is a must for all people, not just those in the field of athletics.
—Al Attles, Golden State Warriors, Vice President and Assistant General Manager


About the authors

Wayne Embry is a native of Springfield, Ohio, and was the first African American general manager in professional sports. He graduated from Miami University of Ohio with a BS in Education, and a minor in Business Administration. He is a member of the Miami University Hall of Fame and was elected to the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame in 1999.

Mary Schmitt Boyer is a general assignment sports reporter and feature writer for the Cleveland Plain Dealer. An award-winning sportswriter who has specialized in covering basketball and the Olympics, she has served as president of the Association for Women in Sports Media and secretary-treasurer of the Pro Basketball Writers Association.

Additional information


Ohio History and Culture


Mary Schmitt Boyer, Spike Lee, Wayne Embry

Pub date



basketball history; 20th century basketball; behind the scenes; coaches; inside look at professional basketball; racism in sports; kareem abdul-jabbar; ron harper

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